Saturday, February 20, 2010


Everyone loves gifts…and they come to us in many forms. The shiny box with the big bow at Christmas and birthdays. Special occasions when we receive gifts. We almost always remember to offer thanks for these gifts.

Some of the nicest gifts, however, don't come wrapped in glittering paper and topped with lacy bows. Acts of kindness are nice gifts and often don't get acknowledged as they should. Expressions of gratitude are gifts, as are kind words.

Most of these gifts come delivered by hand, through the mail or via the brown UPS trucks. A few are face to face immediate responses. "What a kind thing to do. Thank you."

But some gifts sneak up on you unexpectedly and come via many routes, even email. I was surprised, pleased and appreciative of a gift I recently received and it came in an e-mail note. I have been teaching a creative writing course at our local community college, South Florida Community College. I have done this periodically over the past few years and enjoy it immensely. One of my passions is sharing what I have learned writing fiction and I love to share this with others with the same passion. Currently I have a class of eight who are enthusiastic, responsive and doing fantastic things with words. Yesterday I received an email from one of those students and while I consider it a personal gift from her I'd like to share it with you.

"I noticed yesterday we were all saying how much we enjoyed your class. I was in another writing group when I first moved here. I didn't learn nearly as much as I have learned from you in five weeks. You are so generous and beyond helpful. You are also an inspiration to me knowing that you didn't start writing until you were in your 60s. I don't know if I will ever be a published author. What I do know is that my love for books, reading and writing have been expanded beyond measure. I find all these things to be my true passion in life. I just kept it under wraps for way too long."

Thank you, Carolyn, for a lovely gift. I shall treasure it forever.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Sometimes we let things get in our way. Things beyond our control and yet we allow them to take us off the path we've chosen. Something like that happened late last year.

I don't remember exactly when I decided to create a blog, and using the word create here might be misconstrued. I don't have the technical know-how to do anything like this but I had a friend, a great friend, who did. Diane was the kind of friend you didn't have to see every day or even every week to know she was a friend. Once a month we met at a women's networking luncheon and she was an encourager. "You can do a lot with a blog. It will help you, I'll help you," she said and I believed her so I asked for her help. And, help she did—in fact she created it for me. Of course, that was her business but to see her click on boxes and move things around the screen until my blog evolved as a real, viable networking tool was great. Talent comes in so many forms, doesn't it? Some paint, some write, there are those who do magical things with a needle and thread and then some create blogs. I loved my blog and was excited about using it.

But, and isn't there always a but? But, as hard as I tried I couldn't seem to find the formula to achieve the success Diane suggested was waiting out there for me. I wrote updates, articles and promoted my books but I got very little traffic and fewer responses. What was I doing wrong? I'd have to ask Diane. I became discouraged but something else crept between me and blog happiness. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Diane got very ill. So ill she needed surgery. So ill she was diagnosed as 'critical'. Those of us who knew our bubbly, successful friend couldn't understand the why or the how or the prognosis. This was our Diane! But nothing worked and Diane left us—forever and I was alone with my blog and my memories of Diane.

On several occasions over the past few months I've come to the blog intending to update it. Hoping for some inspiration to motivate me to use this networking tool she was so convinced would help, but nothing came to me. I'd review some of what was here and then sign off. Not today. Maybe tomorrow and tomorrow never came.

Yesterday I was talking to another friend and the word blog was mentioned. I had to admit I had drifted away from this gift Diane had provided me with. And then the thought came to me—wouldn't Diane be disappointed in me. Disappointed that I'd abandoned the ship, tossed aside the opportunities it just may hold; I'd given up. That's not like me. I'm not a quiter—never have been and hope I never am; so I'm going to do what I promised myself (and Diane) I'd do.

That's why I am tapping away at the keyboard and not at all sure I've made any sense and not at all sure my pathetic reasoning has any value. But I remind myself, "You're a writer so why don't you just get off your pitty platform and write something"; why don't you make something of this miracle Diane created for me.

Okay so what have I done in the the past months? I've completed my tenth novel, a story about troubles and matters of the heart. A tale of courage, confusion and accomplishments from unseen and unusual places and people. As in all my other novels, I have kept my promise to myself that I won't use language or situations that might be offensive to anyone. I've sent it off to a Christian Publisher who expressed an interest and asked for the manuscript. Is this the breakthrough I've been hoping and praying for? Will she accept it for publication? Please join me in small prayers and finger crossings that this might just come about. Of course, if it doesn't I'll self-publish again. But what I really want is some help with reaching the market I just know is out there somewhere for me. Maybe this time I'll open that door. I've given speeches, held workshops and been invited to teach at South Florida Community College again. The weekly writer's critique group I initiated is doing well and growing. I've met wonderful people, interacted with other authors and kept a busy schedule that surprises even me. I've started novel number eleven and have an outline for number twelve. I'm writing a couple of short stories to enter into contests. I love contests, they are so helpful in challenging yourself to do more and to try new things.

If you're reading this perhaps you'll give me a teeny word of encouragement. We need each other you know. That's the way these things work.

God bless you.