Wednesday, January 29, 2014
9-21-13 RMB Authors Reveles, Pegas and Winters
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
On this sunny Saturday afternoon a coworker friend and I travel to the outskirts of the small town of Tecate. It is a border town on the Mexican side. We remain on the California side and wait patiently in the Post Office parking lot for the author Daniel Reveles to meet us.
The feel there is akin to something out of an old western, where men wear cowboy hats and a dusty wind caresses the ground. Life moves at a slightly slower pace.
We are driving him to a library event, where he will chat with readers young and old, charming them all. Some will go on to read his tales of life, love and magic in the town of Tecate.
Two other authors are already set up at our tables when we arrive, Bette Pegas and Gary Winters. The library is full of people. The promoters have done a good job. We sell a few books, but as with many author appearances, it is more about the authors’ presence than the sales. The sales dollars don’t begin to cover the gas to get there. My time is volunteered.
But this is one of those days that I will remember forever. To sit among three talented authors and discuss what they are working on, what inspires them, what they are doing to promote their work, it is a fulfilling experience. It is what encourages them, and me, to write.
I’ve watched YouTube videos of your appearances, talks, and interviews. Each one offers insight into human nature, animal nature, language, history, and more, including possibilities for our future, for our potential. One of my favorite lines on animal intelligence from a talk you did on the book Animal Magnetism in 2011 is:
“If a thunderbolt comes down, the dog isn’t going to say ‘Ah, this is a punishment from Thor’. It’s just a thunderbolt, you go for cover.”
Paring down to the essentials of life, exchanging insights, exploring concepts of fiction and reality, this is what I love about hearing authors. There are no boundaries. There is an openness.
All too soon, it is time to return to the edge of Tecate, to say our farewells and carry on in our lives, richer for our time together, inspired by our exchange and motivated to write.
Bless the libraries and all they do for our communities; our neighborhood communities and our author communities. And bless you RMB, as well, for all your contributions.
Monday, January 27, 2014
9-20-13 RMB Sit A Spell
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
On this Friday, as changes swirl about, I am escaping into Rest in Pieces, the second Mrs. Murphy mystery. Your writing is engaging. It reminds me of entering a friend’s home via the back or kitchen door, no need to knock, knowing you are welcome, pulling up a chair and being served a fresh cup of hot coffee, or if the day is a hot one, sweet tea.
“Sit a spell.”
We chat about friends and family, who is in what grade in school, who is having a baby, who is in the dog house with their spouse, how the garden is doing, important matters. Some coffee cake or elderberry cobbler might make an appearance.
The essence of such moments are what you and Sneaky Pie have brought to me as I read Rest in Pieces. In the chaos of my life, these moments are rejuvenating.
The next cup is on me,
Friday, January 24, 2014
9-19-13 RMB Full Plate
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Sometimes it is hard to tell what task is most important when our plates overflow. The books I read direct me to list tasks and evaluate the one of utmost importance by roi (return on investment) or to define my values and choose the task that aligns most with my highest value or to schedule task by date and hold firm to those dates, regardless of the weather or the way the day sways.
There are as many methods as there are individuals. There are numerous books defining each author’s method of preference. I have read dozens of them, yet my path remains unclear, my plate still full.
My conclusion, as long as there is life, plates will remain full and tasks will mount. I say, let them mount. Rather than piling them high on one plate, create a banquet table of tasks. Bask in their abundance. Then sit back and do what feels best, not the most productive or the one most important to any other single individual, but the one that feels best in that moment to the person partaking of said task.
In life, we can’t do everything, but we can do something. We can’t do it all, but we can do that which brings us joy, that which marks our path and paints a picture of our life that will leave a legacy we can be proud of, one we are honored to share.
Today, work was overwhelming. I did all I could, but not all there was to do. In the evening, I took the boys for a walk and we ended up at a pizza shop playing Flux, a card game. In ten years, maybe even in one year or one month, I won’t remember the tasks I did today, but I guarantee that in ten years, I will remember the boys as we played that game, their faces, the attitudes, and their enthusiasm.
Was that time with them the “task” of highest roi, the one that fit my highest goal, the one that was scheduled? My time with them was what I ended up doing when I thought my tasks for the day were done.
What if we looked back on our memories of yesterday, last month, last year, and found what held the most impact, the ones important enough to remain strong and tactile in memory, offering lingering joy and pride, and then looked forward, filling in our “tasks”, catering our days, to that which we might want to look back on tomorrow, next month, next year?
I think I shall schedule a pizza game night date with my boys. Why let our best memories happen by happenstance, while trying so hard to accomplish all those things that will be soon forgotten?
Wishing you fulfilling memories,