We Built this City

I  wasn’t sure what the topic of this month’s blog was going to be. I haven’t been blogging long, but usually a topic finds me. Thus far, I’ve tried to offer my personal views of what’s happening in my professional life. Its been nice to have a spot to offer a thought or two (or seventy-five) on whatever writer process I’ve been going through over the past 30 days.

However, as far as writer things go, there hasn’t been much going on. I finished writing The Dreamer in January. It went through the process of being reviewed, considered, and contracted over the late winter. It took the very long way round to be edited over the spring. I would have started a new project, but I’ve been working hard to get my name out there.

I became a traveling saleswoman. There is a whole hell of a lot involved in getting a person’s business off the ground. Overall, I was successful. I celebrated the addition of Rising Ridge to an actual brick and mortar bookstore, I was selected to participate in not one, but TWO panels at the Baltimore Bookfest (come see me!), and I was asked to speak to a women’s group later this fall.

All good things, but all very businessey things. My creative time was spent doing something a little different this month. I thought instead of giving you a personal view of my professional world, I’d do the opposite.

A professional view of my personal world.

July was a hard month, you guys. It was a hard month for everyone. I have never been one to outwardly express my political, religious or civil views to the public. It’s not that I don’t have them, it’s that I know the value of when two people argue on opinion they’re both right. So I don’t argue. Everyone has their own rights to opinions, and have them, they did. All month long, I sat back and watched good, solid people begin to tear each other down. The only time I was moved to speak up was when one of my very treasured friends expressed her concerns over raising her child in this world. She fears that though she may teach him well, her teachings can only go so far. The world has to carry him the rest of the way, and it was catastrophically letting her down. I felt, as her friend, and as a witness to the fine young man I am seeing this child already growing to be, that I should break my silence and offer her comfort.

You keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We will lift each other up.

And so my topic finds me….

It seems while some were hell bent on tearing down the walls around us, there were the few mighty and brave who chose to spend the month building them back up.

Let’s start with actual, physical walls.

Over the last couple of years, I have been so very honored to be included in an outreach summer program. This program was designed seven years ago to build and sustain a bridge between a local church and the surrounding community. They specifically target kids in lower elementary school who may not otherwise get to enjoy summer camp, and kids who may need a little extra love. They are loved, no matter what their background is. I personally work with 4th and 5th graders, teaching and helping them to believe in themselves by giving them the tools they need to lovingly and carefully put together a meal for their parents.

They are amazing kids. Every year, they are different, and they are amazing. They try so hard to get every little chop and slice perfect. They measure, mix, and pour their entire hearts into their recipes and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

This year was a little different, and I marvel at the fate’s impeccable timing.

They built walls.

While adults all over the world so damn busy tearing them down, these 100 beautiful kids built them up. Together, they built a clubhouse. The kids knew the project would be temporary, just to enjoy for the week, but they put everything they had into it.

Every brush stroke, every piece of personality you see here was brought to you by these 100 amazing little souls. And when they were done, it was up to us as leaders to bring their vision into something sustainable. As I stood in the middle of this structure, and enjoyed the discovery of every little painted smiley face, flower, and Minecraft Creeper, I felt it again:

You keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We will lift each other up.

 

I also got to catch up with an old friend. Summer is kind to us like that, the world slows down a bit and you have time for conversations by the pool while the kids are creating chaos around you. Who cares, there’s no school tomorrow. This friend of mine provided us with lunch, which was completely organic. She’s very passionate about food (check out her stunning food blog, and how at the end of the day, it is what sustains us so it should sustain us well. She admitted that preparing meals for guests is hard, because regular society likes carbs, and gluten, and sugar. We pour the hell out of it all over our pancakes in the morning and then slap a side of bacon on the plate for good measure. I asked her if she cooked this way in order to better the health of her family. Of course she does. This is how she loves them, by providing them with what she feels in her heart, is the very best chance at their very best life. Don’t EVER apologize for that, my friend. I happily ate my organic grass fed burger and gluten free cornbread, washing it down with sparkling water because sometimes you have to get a little fancy.

 You keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We will lift each other up.

I did manage to sneak in a few creative writer things toward the end of the month. I am lucky that I live close to the central location of my chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I enjoy attending monthly meetings, I find it to be such a recharge of the batteries. Writing is such a solitary job sometimes, I argue with people who don’t actually exist on a scarily regular basis. It’s always nice when I get the chance to hang out with people who do the same. At the end of the meeting I found my way over to another writer that I’ve enjoyed chatting with. We’re both new at the whole professional Author game and both have a lot of trepidation when it comes to what moves we should make.

Business cards, swag, giveaways, websites…. It’s a big scary metadata kind of world out there.

I just want to write books, and create imaginary friends so cool that you want to hang out with them.

But this writer, this other author made my night. She referenced something in our conversation that I had written in a blogpost. I just stood there and thought to myself ‘holy shit, another writer reads my blog’. Hell…..somebody besides my husband reads my blog!!

Amazing.

 

Seriously, it thrilled me to no end that she had kind words for me. There are so many days where I walk into my office wondering if I am ever going to build the bridge that I want to between my imagination and my readers’ imaginations. I wonder if anything I do makes any difference at all.

I just write books. And blogposts sometimes.

She told me something I wrote was funny. Something I said was helpful. Something I said had an impact on her.

You keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We will lift each other up.

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One thought on “We Built this City

  1. I have been happily surprised that your mantra — You keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We will lift each other up. — keeps lots of writers going. I am always finding encouragement from other writers and freely giving away my own support. It’s a good place to be. Thanks for your beautiful post.

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