Five Things

I have a theory about emotional endurance, about how we persist in the face of the tough stuff, and about how good folks can be ground to dust by hard times. My theory goes like this here:

Three factors tempt me to give up when I’m overwhelmed by my situation. First, if I think my suffering will never end. That’s really tough, because never is the rest of time. Second, if I think my suffering is serving no purpose. Unproductive suffering is such an abomination to our sense of justice that we become creative trying make our suffering meaningful. Third, if we’re entirely alone with our burdens. Being alone is itself painful for many people. Being alone with misery is a heartache added to an indignity.

There’s more to my theory, but to the extent I can stay connected to others, avoid dead ends, and make escape hatches, I can mush along fairly well. Another aspect of keeping on keeping on, is to have good stuff to look forward to. Such as…

Spring. Can’t wait to see all the flowers blooming, to feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

The Romance Writers of America gathering in July. It’s a ways off, but this is when I get to hang with my writin’ tribe, buff my craft, and hug and be hugged.

A writer’s conference out west that I’ll be attending in March. Nothing but craft, craft, craft with all kinds of talented presenters.

A panel on February 15, 2017, at the Darien, CT, library. I’ll get to say hi to my editorial team in New York on the way up, and take a break from the lawyer job for a couple days.

Finishing the manuscript I’m working on. Charlotte Windham and her Welsh upstart nabob should get their happily ever after right about St. David’s Day, appropriately enough.

I could go on. I have books coming out in March, April, May, and June (have to write this one. Details, Details), and July. I expect to get some family time in the next six months. There’s a trip to the UK later in the year. There’s the next Mary Balogh coming out NEXT WEEK.

When I dwell on all these goodies adorning my calendar, the present day does not seem so daunting, nor so solitary and inescapable.

So what are you looking forward to? To one commenter, I’ll send an audio book of Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait, the laassst of the Windham family series to come out as an audio book.

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22 comments on “Five Things

  1. 1

    Having moved house 4 months ago to a smaller dwelling I am now planning what to do with the cash that the move released.I want to explore my own native land this being the UK.I have been retired 7 years and I must do it now while I am fit and able.When we were a young family we travelled to many countries around the world and neglected our own.Now the children are adults with kids of their own and my husband and I divorced many years ago so I can just plan and go.Scotland I have never seen neither Wales,so many lovely areas in England too.So much to do and see so much to enjoy I am blessed.Life is a roller coaster and I like everyone else have gone through tough times but I have so much to look forward to.Spring is coming Grace.

    • 1.1

      I’ve felt that each decade in my life was more enjoyable than the one before, and my sixth decade has been no exception. And yes, you must get out and SEE Merry Olde! I can’t tell you how many times I’d tell somebody in Edinburgh, “I’m headed over to Skye,” and they’d reply, “I hear it’s lovely. Lived here my whole life and I’ve never been.” Hit the road (or the rails), and have some adventures!

  2. 2
    Mary T says:

    I live in the Mid-west where we have all four seasons – and I actually like that. However, Winter is the hardest of all to get through. My love of the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) get me through the first part of Winter. The promise of Spring gets me through the second part. I’m eagerly watching for my little daffodils to poke their way through the frozen ground. Should be any day now (smile).

    • 2.1

      I’m having regular talks with my flower beds. “YOOOOOHOOOO! Oh, daffodils!” The cats think I’m nuts, but this year I’ve gone so far as to force some crocuses in the office. It’s been that kind of winter.

  3. 3
    Susan Gorman says:

    I am looking forward to Spring!

    Daylight Savings is in March and the extra sunlight in the morning will enable me to walk before work. In the Fall and Winter, I get up in the dark and drive home in the dark.

    I make lists when I am overwhelmed or planning. Looking forward to a dog training class next week. I am going to meet friends at a different venue and take Celeste and Greg through a run through. Should be able to see if we are ready to enter some upcoming trials or if we need more practice.

    This week my list includes sending reviews for a book contest, writing two reviews for my blog and working on my clubs cookbook. The cookbook is a huge challenge and Iist making helps me sort through the tasks. Enjoying typing all of the wonderful recipes which are being submitted– from family favorites to hearty home cooked meals. I can’t wait for the book to be published and for everyone to see the recipes! Working on this project is very rewarding and it’s keeping me busy during this cold, rainy winter!

    • 3.1

      You are one busy lady! But it all sounds fun. When I had horses on the property, that feeding in morning darkness and evening darkness got old (also dangerous), and then I had to find mid-day when I could throw hay, unload grain, etc. Those long summer days have a loveliness to them, despite the heat and the bugs.

  4. 4
    Beth says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing you in July.
    I’m looking forward to my eye surgeon tomorrow when I should get an all clear after months of antibiotics and steroids and aching eye sockets and honest to God blindness for weeks on end when the meds set off allergies we didn’t know I had and inflamed bits we won’t contemplate following the last procedure.
    I’m looking forward to buying a new car (9 years on one clutch is miraculous!)
    I’m looking forward to Persian food next weekend at a friend’s house.
    I’m looking forward to a hefty tax refund

  5. 5
    Teenie Marie says:

    I live in the Midwest, in a city whose unofficial motto is: “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes!”

    This winter hasn’t too terribly snowy but it has been cold and dark, I mean, really dark. In fact, we had the darkest January since 1998!

    So I look forward to seeing the Sun on the rare occasions its been around. I am planning my garden. I planted many, many bulbs last fall (because we lost three tree to pine wilt and we filled in with flowers)so I look forward to seeing them make their appearance.

    I have a few performances coming up and look forward to them as I prepare. I look forward to wearing less clothes as it warms up because all my lovely sweaters seem less lovely when you HAVE to wear them!

    • 5.1

      I think half the country had a dreary winter this year. I spent the holidays in San Diego–fun in the sun, right! Not hardly. It rained more in the month I was there than it typically does in Maryland, which was good for them, but not so fun for me. And then coming home to Maryland in mid-January…. blech.

      I went over-bulb this year too, but then, I often do. They are so easy, and so rewarding.

  6. 6
    Rose says:

    Will you be taking part in the big literacy signing at RWA in July? I’ve heard you mention that’s not your favorite way to meet your readers.

    • 6.1

      Rose, I don’t yet know if I’ll get a slot at that signing. They’ve tiered the entry, so authors with bigger names than mine get first crack, and then the rest of us get to crash the server signing up. I’d like to be at that signing, because I have a July release, but if I miss the big one, my publisher is having one at the same conference, date and time to be announced, and I will FOR SURE be at the Grand Central signing.

  7. 7
    Anne Egger says:

    I am going out of town in February. I’m going to have a little birthday luncheon in March. I am going out of town in May. I don’t know about June. I have two trips in July and one trip in August. It is good to have trips with girlfriends it makes life easier.

    • 7.1

      You always seem to well organized, Anne. The next six months, bing, bing, bing! But you’re right–girlfriends are the best, and having something to look forward to with your girlfriends? Priceless, as they say.

  8. 8
    Mary Peed says:

    My gardening catalogs have been coming in. I’m planning on a much bigger garden next year, about a 1/4 of my back yard. I have to get my pumpkin and eggplant seedlings going in a couple weeks then my tomatoes and cucumbers and the flowers for my front garden. Then it’s just a case of waiting for 16 feet (so far) of snow to melt. Before the garden is the dog sled race in March which is also a much looked-forward-too event.

    No need to enter me for the book, I have it.

    • 8.1

      I think a lot of people have been turning to gardening in recent years, for both economic and emotional reasons. It’s good for us to work with the earth, and reassuring to know we can cut the grocery bill. I have not nearly taken advantage of my property’s potential in this regard, which is a regret, but as you say…. spring is coming!

  9. 9
    Marianne says:

    I am looking forward to getting to San Diego. We woke up to a foot of fresh snow and up to 4 foot drifts this morning. A three hour trip to the airport has taken most of the day.

    Still, my husband and I travel well together if we can agree on where we’re going

    My coping strategy for the solitary, inescapable, unproductive minutes, days, even some years is books. If there are none, then there are always those I have read or make up to suit myself. My sister once told me about a concept of “negative space” and that, at times, it was what made something beautiful.

    • 9.1

      I got through the hardest of my single-parenting years on the strength of my keeper stories. When I couldn’t afford new books, I read the keepers. If I have any grasp of novel-craft at all, it’s because of those authors, and my gratitude to them is never-ending. (I’m looking at you, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Judith Ivory, Julie Anne Long…)

      And now it’s the writing the serves the same function. Maybe there’s a book in you?

  10. 10
    Sue Susmilch says:

    It has been a bleak and dreary January in Chicago so I am looking forward to spending some time in Louisiana on the beach next month. Plan on sucking up the sun with Lady Grace’s new book in my hands! Then off to Northern Wisconsin in May to spend 3 months camping and fishing to my heart’s content. Home by October to breed my Bichon Frise, puppies around Christmas and off to wonderful homes by March. Winter’s a good time for me to relax and remember and then look forward to the busy, fun times ahead.

    • 10.1

      Sue, what a wonderful annual cycle you have. The THREE months in Wisconsin sounds like a recipe for whatever ails anybody. I don’t know how people cope without access to real nature, but that’s just me.
      Eat some blueberries for me, read lots of great books, and pet the pups. Life is good!

  11. 11
    Laurel Williams says:

    Thank you for sharing about suffering and hope. Before my dad,who was a PhD in Philosophic Rhetoric, passed on, he struggled to understand why I liked romances. Once I was able to articulate that they are about hope it made sense to him. I do see that is what romances do for me whether they are set in the past, in paranormal realms, in current times or whenever. They speak of struggles and commitments between friends and families and of course lovers. They show that hope is not just possible but justified. Thank you for writing about flawed characters who find love and hope. Take care

    • 11.1

      Laurel, I think the complexity and depth of a well written romance is one of the best kept secrets in the history of literature. You are absolutely right that they are allegorical tales of hope, love, and courage… though you’d never know it from most of the covers, would you?

      Now why is that?