Went by the library today (one of my favorite things to do – I just like being surrounded by books) and dropped off the last of my vacation books and then realized the summer reading season is over. Sadly, summer is never long enough to get through all the books I want. Truth be told, I actually don’t love reading on the beach or by the pool in the summer. It’s just too hot and bright. Still I managed to get through a pile of books. I took a look back at the books I read since the kids got out of school until the bus came this past week.
I think writing and writers can come in all shapes, sizes, genres, and varieties. I don’t think there is any one book or workshop or group that is going to magically help you become a better writer. I do believe two things about writing. First, it is a craft and needs to be practiced. Second, to be a writer, you need to have a love of reading.
Writing is much like any other craft. It’s not exactly hard to do though it is hard to do well. Writing a book isn’t necessarily hard it just takes time. String enough dedicated, persistence days spent on anything, a book or a painting or training for a marathon and you will reach your goal.
Last year, on a whim at the library, I picked up one of John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers books. I’d read a lot of Prey books but hadn’t read any from his other series. I’m glad I did. I loved them and quickly blew through five more in a race to catch up. They’re great.
But I also started to wonder what I else I might be missing out on.
There are some conversations you are just never ready to have as a parent. It all might seem easy or straightforward when you are reading those child advice books, but actually having the conversation on a Wednesday night when your six year old is crying? Not so simple. You just muddle through, try to tell the truth, and do the best you can.
A family friend passed away suddenly this week and, while the girls have had a few family members and pets die before, this was the first time that Ally was old enough to have a framework to better understand and ask the tough questions. Like I said, we muddled through. We finally were able to get her to stop crying and go to sleep by agreeing to a verbal contract to take care of her two “lovies” if anything ever happened to her.
It’s been on my mind, maybe with my own birthday clicking off another year soon, for the rest of the week. If she’d sent me an Outlook invite that she’d start asking life’s ultimate questions on Wednesday night at 8, here’s what I might have said with a little forethought:
We always live with death by our side so don’t take anything for granted and try to appreciate each moment. Life is always changing. So often we live our lives like we’ll live forever but as soon as we remember that life is fleeting we find ourselves letting go of the distractions and being more present for one another. Try to find peace with the impermanence. If we can remember this and carry it with us, it won’t be morbid or sad, it will bring a lightness and ease and comfort.