Boom! It’s 2021 and Crazy Town

HI there and welcome to Crazy Town. At least that’s where I am right now. So busy I don’t have much time to bemoan our political landscape or wring my hands about the COVID virus, and thank God because if that was all I thought about I’d be in bed most days.

I’m in the midst of releasing a book with an energetic and forward-thinking publisher and it’s a LOT! Since my background is advertising sales, copywriting, and marketing, I have to do it to the utmost, which takes a lot of time and patience. Neither of which I have, but we do what must be done, don’t we? Yes. Most of the time, anyway.

So while whittling away at a press release, preparing for yet another ZOOM call with my author launch team, biting my fingernails calling potential virtual event venues for our “Truth and Lies in Mysteries” tour, I had a moment of panic when I realized I hadn’t updated my website and a lot of folks (a lot) were going to check it out now and I’d better have something current. It’s even on my publisher’s information sheet, ‘how many times do you update your website a month?’ and I got a little red-faced at that question. So…welcome to my world for the next few weeks, and in the middle of that, my publisher offered me another contract! For Book Two and Book Three of the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series. Book One of which (The Deadening) releases next month, and is available for pre-order now.

My mind is spinning with how much there is to do after a mainly puttering-along writing life, and it is now full systems go and I have two more books to write starting, well, now. It is a happy time and a busy time and I am over-the-moon grateful for a blessing in the midst of a fiercely alienating landscape, a horrid disease, and the pervasive loneliness that hatched in 2020. Thanks to my writing addiction, I now have an instant group of encouragers and ZOOM meetings at every turn.

Into the vast Unknown…

Tip-toeing into 2021, I’m cautiously optimistic that we may see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s certainly nice to have a bunch of activity going on. It is WAY too easy to slide down the tunnel of regret and take the highway of discontent right now. (Dumb metaphors, I know, I know). So for now, I’m happily engaging in phone calls to potential virtual events or future signing events when the great unmasking occurs (being positive, here), I’m delighting in the lively wit of other authors and the sharing of promotional ideas. I’m excited about the fact that my editor believes in and supports my books and that I’m building a fan base (I love you guys).

Not watching news. Just no. For a while.

I’m stepping away from 24/7 news, which has had me glued to my phone. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that we cannot believe the media. We must do research and find out for ourselves, and even that may not be exactly right, so…we just need to live our lives. Pursue that wonderful thing that God made us to do. Believe that better, more hopeful days are ahead. (Preachin’ to myself here, too.) Stay busy. Find something we love and do it. Persevere. Stay ahead of depression. Go visit someone with a three-year old, it will totally change your outlook for the better. Promise.

In the meantime, I think I’ll keep writing.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thunderstorms and Tuning Forks

Disappointments are to the soul what thunderstorms are to the air.

Johann C.F. von Schuller 

I ran across this marvelous quote recently, and it resonated so deeply I felt I should write something relatively coherent about it.

Johann von Schuller was a German philosopher that lived around the same time as Beethoven. In fact, Beethoven said of his poetry that it was so beautiful and complex that when asked to set it to music, he didn’t even want to try, he felt he might do it a disservice.

Athunderstorm 2ll to say, von Schuller was a pithy conversationalist whose commentary was well worth chewing on later.

No kidding. I’m chewing on this quote in 2013 and the guy died in 1805.

I love thunderstorms. Doesn’t everybody? I love the way the lightning zigzags across the sky and the deep boom of thunder. I love the sound of rain, and the clean, fresh smell the next morning after the storm has moved on. The storm electrifies the air, filling me with a sense of wonder at the mighty strength and power of it. I vacillate between awe and fear. Too much storm will result in devastation, but just the right amount can bathe the next day in bright-eyed clarity.

So it is with disappointment. When I have the temerity of soul to cast a global gaze backwards at my life, the disappointments far outnumber the celebrations. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it certainly is true for me. I’m sad about it sometimes, but realistic and objective too, and in typical optimist-survivor fashion have tried to make lemonade from lemons and all that. Happily, I am swimming in lemonade right now, but this is not the point.thunderstorm 1

This is the point: I do not take one thing for granted anymore. Not one. A sea of disappointments has so clarified my focus that even the tiniest, loving moment is magnified a thousand times. A hand holding mine. A baby’s delighted laugh. A son’s successful day at work. A fifteen-minute conversation with a daughter that is emotionally honest. A husband’s caring gesture of concern when I am tired. A friend’s prayer for me. Twenty-five encouraging comments on Facebook in response to one of my posts.

Without disappointments, the air around me would be murky with what-ifs, muddled by not-good-enoughs, marred by unforgiveness. The disappointments have broken, humbled and softened me. They have prodded my ego into a semblance of submission and pounded my pride into a glob of malleable clay fit for shaping.  Left to a life without disappointments, I fear I would be a sad mess of indiscriminate decisions based on how I feel rather than what is good and right and true.

thunderstorm 4So I thank God for the disappointments, and I thank God for His help in teaching me the right response to them. After one of life’s thunderstorms, my senses are at their peak. I can hear better, see more clearly, and confusion has fled. I am a super-charged tuning fork, on a mission to align my pitch.

For the record, lately there have been a few spring showers, but no downpours or flash floods. Lightning streaks across the sky once in a while, but it is short-lived. Fast and furious. Then the sun comes out.

I am hoping my soul will not need much more clarifying. I am optimistic that the collective result of a life lived aggressively has yielded a soul more ready to embrace simple pleasures, more willing to rest in gratitude than demand rights; content in the place it has earned in the sun.

I agree with Solomon’s words, another man who pondered life’s thunderstorms: “Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat andthunderstorm 6 drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days that God gives him. Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, he is to enjoy them, accept his appointed lot and rejoice in his toil for this is a gift of God.” Ecc. 5: 19-20

Sounds pretty clarified to me. I’m with ya, Solomon.