Saturday, 25 July 2015

I NEED TO WRITE TO BE HAPPY. —NORA ROBERTS


I’m at an odd crossroads. I have a whole lot going on, while a lot of nothing is happening. We have moved into our new home and have been busy scouring, repairing and painting. In between that hard core, get down on your knees or up on a ladder kinda work, we run to and fro between the various communities in our area, filling in the “holes” we see in the house. We have ordered closet systems and interior shutters, have purchased a new central vacuum system and bought a new King bed. We have dealt with the mundane but necessary: septic pumping, new hot water heater, repair on dishwasher.

We are settling down in paradise. I kid you not. I exaggerate not one bit. I step out onto the balcony—doves coo and hawks circle the back farmer’s field while horses frolic in the distance. The mountain sits quietly, majestic and beneficent, warming me with its presence. The pastoral land between my backyard and the ocean that endlessly beckons is calming, balm to my ravaged soul. For, at the moment that is what it is, ravaged. (Keep in mind, I do have a flare for drama.J)

I love my life. I hate my life. Well, perhaps hate is too strong a word. I am disgruntled, unhappy that it is all work and no play. We have moved to this spectacular province and the only thing I know, about the area I live, is the location of the nearest Home Depot or Costco. While I am not anxious to play tourist, it would be nice to see something beyond the hardware stores.

More defeating than that is the fact that we still have no furniture. I have nowhere to sit comfortably and write. And I crave writing. I am positively antsy and, if you speak with DH he will verify, downright cranky about the whole not-conducive-to-writing environment. Writing is who I am, it is what I need. It is right up there with eat well and exercise. It makes me healthy and whole. So, I can hardly wait until everything arrives and I can unpack and get back to the business of being me…which is writing.

Having said that, a ray shone over my frustrations this week. An agent read the first thirty pages of Raven’s Path and requested the full manuscript. I am not na├»ve enough to think that this leads to a happy-ever-after agent/writer contract, but I cannot tell you how heartening it was to get her email in the midst of my present turmoil.

It helped to remind me of part of the reason I moved out here: to shake up my life, to try something new, to sit on the couch and drink in the vista as I write…and write…and write.


Monday, 20 July 2015

Home is the nicest word there is. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

I am a confident person. In my career, and in my life, I have made decisions without hesitation. Some of them miniscule in the grand scheme of things, some of them incredibly important to all involved. I always weigh the pros and cons, tally the cost and move forward with a sense of sureness that I am doing what is best with the information I have at hand and in the moment.

Yet, I questioned our new house purchase. I did not doubt that moving to the west coast was a good idea. I grew up on the east coast. I was raised with mountains at my back door and the ocean at my front. Ontario has been good to me, but I did not wish to die in a metropolis…well, a mini metropolis, if truth be told. And, just let me note, I have no intention of dying in the near future. I’m banking on another 35+ years, thank you very much.

I had no qualms with shaking up my secure comfortable life. Complacency is enemy to creativity. I crave change, challenge and new experiences. Moving offered all of those things. So, not a glance back as we headed across Canada.

But, we looked at houses our second day on the island. We owned this one on the third. It was a frenzy of bartering, house inspection and septic inspection, followed by the arduous task of securing everything from insurance to hydro. We moved in two weeks after landing in British Columbia. We took a chance and sold our house, not knowing when or where we would secure another one. We flew without a safety net and landed with aplomb.

I had no idea how it could happen that quickly. And, so, I was filled with doubt. Is this the right house? The right area? Did we take on too much with the work that needs to be done? Did we jump too fast? My excitement was tempered by trepidation.

Then, friends came by. Now, friends alone are enough to bring joy to a home. The fact that they made time to come see our new, as yet to be furnished house, is solace to the doubtful heart. They were positive and glowing as they took the tour. Fantastic. But it was watching them look out our windows, seeing their smiles as they walked out onto the balcony, that brought true comfort. The affirmation of our choice was clear in their faces.

Any time I fret or doubt our quick decision, I will stand at a window and trace the direction of their gazes…and drink in the vista: pastoral lands wrapped in mountains with a glimpse of the ocean.

I am home.

 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Do the planets align or do we make our own luck?


I talked last week about how blessed I am in life: my life’s partner, my fur babies, my friends and my plethora of career choices. The question I have pondered this week, since I do have time to ponder…oodles of time—a discomforting state for me, if truth be told…is Have I worked to invite such amazing gifts into my life or is it sheer luck?

For certain, the circumstance of my birth is pure providence. It is the foundation upon which all other things have been constructed. Did I build the tower of my life or is it all about fate, a big game of Ker Plunk and I am just pulling out the right sticks through happenstance? I don’t know for certain, of course, lacking the surety of a preacher or a prophet, but I do believe there is an element of both at play.

Born in a country of opportunity, I have had access to good health care, free education and (when I did mine) affordable post secondary education. Times were not always easy and money not always ready, but I found that if I worked hard, kept my eyes on the goal, the pay off was worth it. I built a career. I built a life. No stranger to sacrifice and hard work, I built me…from the ground floor up. And, I’m darn proud of it.

Yet, I know so many others who can claim the same thing. They have had goals and have worked hard their whole lives in the same bountiful country as me. Despite that, their lives are filled with setbacks, heartaches and loss. They have done everything right but too many things go wrong. How do I account for that?

“The harder I work, the luckier I get,” a quote oft attributed to Samuel Goldwyn, sums up my general philosophy in life. I have applied it with great success. However, a little voice niggles in the back of my mind, always. Others work just as hard. Work harder. Why you? Why do your stars align? I have no answer. None.

But, Universe, know that I am ever so grateful.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

O Canada


I often think about my blessed life. I'm in good health. I live with a man I admire, respect and love. I cuddle each day with sweet little pups. I am surrounded by kind and generous friends. I have enjoyed a successful career and can indulge in exploring yet another one. I am also graced with the cognitive ability to accomplish things on an academic level and have the fortitude to face the unknown and to see tasks through.

On the heels of Canada Day, I am contemplating the full bounty of the gift that is my life. Through luck or destiny, I was born in a country that allows these blessings. Access to good health care and education is an incredible luxury. The freedom to choose who I love and spend my time with, and the right to choose my path and expect respect as a woman, are not things to be taken lightly.

I have always recognized that I live in a wonderful country, but our journey across its vast expanse has made me appreciate it even more. Canada, the land, is as varied as its people. It is spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring. O Canada, with glowing heart, I have seen thee rise…and you are beautiful. Thank you Fate, for the gift of my home. May it forever be, strong and free.