Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lucky March: Strange Luck

Hi folks, ah, the end of March. Everything is blooming here. Bluebonnets, Evening Primrose, Winecups, Paintbrush, so many flowers. So beautiful. It looks like bright paints have been spilled on the prairie.

This is the end of the Lucky March series. The universe seems so vast. It seems unlikely that anything interesting would happen on my watch, yet life is full of surprises. Sometimes luck is surprising, odd, and wonderful. I call this luck, strange luck. My favorite kind. The oddball moments that lead us to now. Life might seem dull right now, but don't worry if you are stuck in a rut in the road. A bump is up ahead and who knows what it will lead to.

I thought I'd list three moments of strange luck that have come my way. I got into a cab once in New York and the driver was a brother of a friend from high school. We laughed about the long ago days when we were much younger and not so wise. The experience made the world seem smaller and more manageable. Another time, I was walking near a place I lived near dusk. I walked there daily, but this one day, I saw what I thought was a rabbit trail. I thought I be like Alice and follow the trail. It lead to a mysterious pond that I had never seen before (though I had lived nearby for years), and the full moon was reflecting in the pond. The moment sent chills down my spine and it inspired me to write an entire book based on the "what if..." of the moment.

Now a last moment of strange luck. When Maya Angelou died, I was pretty down about that. I had never met her, but her fervent spirit and wild words had set fires burning inside me. I was flying across country right after she died, and the man next to me and I struck up a conversation. He was struggling with the loss of a dear friend. Soon I learned that he had worked with Maya for years. He told me something of his grief at her loss. His words reflected exactly what I was feeling. We had a sacred moment of tears. Yes, I felt lucky, blessed, and with the angels. I had that big sense that everything and everyone is connected.  Like Maya said, "I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all."

This is Easter weekend, for Christians, a day of great celebration. He is risen! Here is a blessing for you from me. May you remember all the people that made your life possible. May you seek to live a life worthy of what you have received.

I will be back with next week with a new series. :)

Here is a doodle:

A quote for your pocket.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Lucky March: My Lucky Charm, The Children's Moon

Hi folks, I am feeling pretty lucky right now. I do what I love. I have a roof over my head. I'm the mom of four astonishing young people. I'm married to the love of my life. I have two cats. I have time to read and work in my yard.  And in happy news, I have been a busy writing bee for the last few months. Two big projects of mine have almost been brought together. Do you ever feel like you have sprouted wings and after some serious trial and error, wow, you are flying?

My work stuns me. I am an imperfect artist and writer. I'm messy. The edges of my work are always a little rough, primitive, if you will. I'm a folk artist in a time of slick, mass market production.  And yet these stacks of papers that I have produced bring tears to my eyes.  I find joy in the imperfection.  I hope that my scribbles and doodles will finally turn something up that will make some sense of this world for someone and bring some needed light and laughter into the dark the corners. Here is my promise: I will keep trying.

I had an awesome moment recently. I began querying last week and I have already received my first rejection.  I read the rejection (a classic form email), marked the rejection in my file, and moved back to what I was working on. Then I noticed the milestone! I HAVE ELEPHANT SKIN! I didn't even feel a twinge of discouragement. If you follow my blog, you might know this is a double triumph for me. I've been sort of crushed by a bout of depression for two years and the clouds have moved on. I feel lucky, blessed, favored, and among the angels, all rolled into one.

Finally, I saw my lucky charm today, the moon in the day sky. I always feel lucky when I see the moon in the day sky. The daytime moon is often called the children's moon because it's accessible to children when they are outside playing. Today's daytime moon, a pale half-round in the Texas blue sky, reminded me how lucky I am to write stories for children, to have never lost the sense of child-like wonder within, and to spend my life moving from conversation to conversation with like minded souls. Here's a question: What does the  children's moon say to you?

Glad you have dropped by. I hope good things, deep luck, and true dreams find you this week.  I will be back next with the end of Lucky March.  

Here is a doodle for you. Magic Carpet Ride.

Here is a short Irish Blessing for your pocket. 

May your fire never go out.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lucky March: Serendipitous Moments

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series called Lucky March. I'm about a quarter Irish, and this month I'm writing about about random circumstances that end up sending good fortune your way. This week I'm writing about those serendipitous moments that change everything. These lucky moments can come at any time and any place. Often they will come when you are least expecting them.

Here are a few things that I have noticed about lucky moments. Lucky moments are rare. You must be ready to leap. Lucky moments do not check your schedule to make sure your are emotionally available. Just embrace the luck even if you have tears on your face. Lucky moments often come with a ton of kismet, deja vu and que sera, sera. Call it fate, harbinger, or providence, these lucky moments will send shivers down your spine and pull out the neat threads that stitch together your understanding of the universe. Psst, you will be better. Finally, sometimes you might totally misread your luck. Just because it doesn't feel lucky at the time doesn't mean that it wasn't lucky. 

I hope these thoughts on luck help you. Regardless of how your good luck comes, I hope it finds you this week.

I had the opportunity to ask two brilliant children's writers about lucky moments on their journey this week. One is Alison McGhee.  Alison's lucky moment was a dark and blizzardy night when she'd lost her suitcase at the airport. (not exactly feeling like a lucky moment), but her missing suitcase lead her to Kathi Appelt, a friend to treasure and a writing partner. So there you go -- luck that a suitcase went missing!

Kathi Appelt also shared a lucky moment story. Many years ago, she wandered into the only independent children's bookstore in BCS (Jacque's Toys and Books). A conversation began and by the end of the conversation Kathi had a new job that transformed her understanding of children's books forever. Yay for lucky conversations. Don't be too busy to chat, friends. Luck hunkers down in good conversations. 

I find great value in revisiting the moments that change everything. 

I know this week is short, but I am CRAZY busy! I hope you contemplate luck, and if you are like me, you realize that luck is just godspeed. That said, godspeed to all of you. I will be back next week with more lucky March.   

No doodle this week. I am having a cover crush. Please consider checking out Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee's new book: MAYBE A FOX.   
Here is a traditional Irish blessing to tuck in your pocket. 

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Lucky March: Luck of the Irish

Hi, folks! Welcome to the next series. I'm about one quarter Irish, hence the luck of the Irish is with me as a writer. ;) Luck is all about random circumstances that end up sending good fortune your ways. Do you want some luck of the Irish in your life?  Here is a sure fire plan.

The whole luck of Irish meme was started by miners in the gold fields back in the day. Those Irish miners kept finding gold. It's a good thing they didn't stay in Ireland. I've learned a thing or two like my Irish ancestors. Stay where you are, and things will never change.  Do things the same, and things will never change. Don't ask for help, and things will never change.

A few years back I took a novel revision class with Darcy Pattison. In this class Darcy offered an exercise, identify the weakest chapters in your book and then revise to make them awesome. As we all know, luck is really about dropping yourself in opportunity rich places and then reaping the benefits. I've made it a practice to choose the three weakest chapters of my book when I have a solid draft and revise them. I make the better. How?  I make better stuff happen. I dig into the emotional core. I cut the fat. Ooh, I was punching the sky when I finished my revision notes.

So whatever creative stuff you are doing, go to the gold fields.  If you are searching for gold, you know where those fields are. Gear up and prospect. First study the land. For you writers, read, read, read. Lose the dreams of get-rich-quick. Band together with other prospectors. You need writers who work hard and show up.  Dig in. Luck finds the tenacious. It does.

So there you have it, a road to the luck of the Irish. I will be back next week with more Lucky March.

Here is a quote for you pocket. A traditional Irish blessing:

May the blessing of the rain be on you—the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.

May the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.