At this writing I’m sitting at a coffee shop, having just devoured a croissant, which was perfectly flaky on its outside and perfectly fluffy on its inside, around that filling of almond cream cheese. I’m sipping on a dark mocha made with whole milk and whipped cream. I won’t lie, it’s been a good start to the day.
I’m sitting across the table from my significant other. (His coffee is black.) He (an educator) is grading quizzes and (also a research scientist) reviewing a lab paper. I am spread out with my laptop, intermittently free writing, letting my thoughts flow onto an open document. Maybe there’s a little room for fiction after.
We are doing this coffee shop thing up right.
But what adds to the cool factor that is already plentiful this morning is that there’s a woman a few tables away. A couple paperbacks and a journal, into which she occasionally jots notes, are open before her. I have decided she is a writer. Her long gray hair is pulled into a loose ponytail, out of the way, she is no frills. The glasses she wears are subtle, but hip, indicative of her underlying personality.
She is researching something for her new novel’s premise, I think, and alternately people-watching, to draw real-world inspiration as writers do. (People-watching at coffee shops, in level of satisfaction attained, is second only to mochas.) She—I have spontaneously dubbed her Gloria—is here to soak up the vibe. To smell the coffee and feed off the energy and work in the white noise, which brings her comfort, more so than the quiet at her home, where only her aging and apathetic cat offers company.
Maybe as I sit here conjuring her story, Gloria is conjuring mine. What would she assume? What would she name me? Who would I be, and what is my purpose as I work on some wordy, mysterious document?
I could be Valerie or Samantha or Beth. I am a dance studio owner, composing the verbiage for our spring playbill. Or a mom on the PTA who will lead tonight’s meeting, and I’m typing the agenda. Maybe I’m a law student cramming for this afternoon’s exam, or a nurse free from duty and writing a letter to my aunt in Minnetonka. Or maybe I’m a writer, just doing that writing thing.
I catch her eye and smile, trying to pass a certain camaraderie across the room.
I take another sip of my drink and get back to my work, leaving Gloria to hers. We both soak up the vibe. Feed off the energy, and work in the white noise.
How cool is that?
Tell us about your last experience in a coffee shop.
While some—or many…or maybe all!!!—of you are experiencing the wonderful delights of spring, we’re getting snow again. It’s beautiful, of course. Big white fluffy flakes that I hope will not accumulate overnight. I’m ready to put on my shorts, not my snow boots and winter jacket and toque.
And even though it’s chilly out there, hovering around the freezing temps, in the last week, the geese have arrived. And this morning, our ducks are on the pond, swimming along the edges where the ice has melted, picking their way across the still frozen middle—or iceberg as I joyfully refer to one of the last remnants of our winter.
Our mother duck is far braver than daddy duck, and has ventured onto the thin layer of ice which was water yesterday, but overnight has developed a thin crust of ice. We watch her fall through the paper thin ice, then she sits there and stares at her husband as though she expects him to venture out and rescue her. He doesn’t. Apparently he has more common sense than his female counterpart.
Eventually she manages to crawl back onto the ice, breaks through again, then finally finds a spot that will hold her minuscule weight long enough for her to waddle over to the open water where she spends some time swimming with her mate. But soon they wander out of the water and disappear, searching, I imagine, for a safe spot to nest.
I want to tell them there are no safe spots, except for maybe in our shop. There’s predators all around…that nasty cat who caught our mother duck last year and nearly made a meal of her, foxes and coyotes and believe it or not, a cougar, too.
So while I watch our wildlife settle back onto the acreage, and wait for the warm temps to arrive, I’ve lined up some new releases for my reading material:
The Memory Child by Steena Holmes
A Numbers Game by Tracy Solheim
Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace
How about you? Is your part of the world warm or cold? What book(s) are you reading right now? Have you entered the Authors In Bloom bloghop for a chance to win some great prizes (last day is April 16, 2014!)?
I’ve been thinking about this quote from John C. Maxwell (I confess I had to look up John C. Maxwell when I first saw this image) as it relates to my life. I’m happily married with two wonderful children who keep me on my toes and fill my life with unspeakable joy. I’m also a writer and as those of you who also pursue this rewarding/frustrating business can concur, it’s often a lonely way to make a living.
Dictionary.com defines lonely as solitary; without company; companionless. Yep, that pretty much sums up my writing life. I have other writing friends and I commiserate with them either online, on the phone, or in person. Those friendships keep me going, but in order for me to get words on the page, I have to spend hours alone. Some days when the words are flowing and I get an email from a reader, the loneliness subsides and gratefulness takes its place. I’m blessed to have the ability to work at home with a supportive family and flexible hours. But sometimes it feels like solitary confinement.
My current situation reminds me of when I quit work when my son was born. My husband and I made the decision to have me stay home and I was overjoyed to be with him all day, every day. It wasn’t long before all day, every day felt like a prison sentence. I went days without speaking to another adult. A grand outing was a trip to the grocery store. I’d phone my husband repeatedly asking,”When are you coming home?”
Just as I sought companionship as a new mother, I can now walk away from the computer and engage with others. I’ve spent the winter in three bible studies (two of which involve homework). I try to volunteer at school (sparingly). And I never miss one of my kids’ activities because I can’t get these years back. Could I pump out more books faster if I ignored my pangs of loneliness and chugged away at the computer? Absolutely. Would I be happy? No. Would the work suffer? Yes.
My point is that no matter your situation, don’t be afraid to join a group or take up a new hobby or step out of your comfort zone. Meet people. Learn something. Be open to new experiences. Life’s about the journey, and the journey always makes for a good story. If you have the time, I’d love to hear about your journey.
Next week, my first ever novella is being released. A NUMBERS GAME is a prequel to my May 6th release RISKY GAME. Like the rest of the Out of Bounds series, it features the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team. I’m giving away some fun prizes on my blog tour that runs through April 18th. Check out the schedule and stop by to win!
Now for the five fun facts about A NUMBERS GAME that first appeared on the Delighted Reader blog site earlier this week.
1. The hero of this book is a former professional football player, now an NFL coach. But our heroine is a C.P.A. Isn’t it about time the smart, organized, number crunchers get the sexy guy? I thought so.
2. The book takes place in one of my favorite cities—Baltimore, Maryland, better known as Charm City. Annapolis and St. Michael’s, Maryland also get some page time. If you haven’t been, you really need to go!
3. Readers will learn how to pick Maryland Blue Crabs. Picking crabs is a favorite summer pastime for most Baltimore natives so I had to include a scene where our hero, Heath, teaches our heroine, Merrit, the proper technique for dismantling and eating a crab.
4. Friends from previous Out of Bounds books appear in the novella, so readers can catch up on their favorite characters from Game On and Foolish Games.
5. This book is a novella so it’s meant to be read in one sitting. Open a bottle of wine, grab your favorite chocolate and enjoy.