Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In My Apricot Room

For the past few months I have been putting together a book dummy to send to publishers. If you know me personally you know this, because I talk of little else, since it's what I've been doing day in and day out. I've been scrambling words and pictures together mostly in my little apricot room, with my fluffy cat pawing at my legs or jumping on my lap to "help" me get the job done. When I decided to go on this rather risky enterprise, putting all other forms of job hunting to rest, I tried to fend off all of the anxious feelings welling up inside me; so many things could go wrong. I could end up feeling completely isolated, lonely, and creating something that I would be bored with by the second week.

For the past few years I've had a two major stories rolling around in my head, one about the early life about John Paul II, the other a rewrite of a Russian fairytale with fantastic characters flitting in and out of an ordinary girl's life. I knew that the fairytale had more public appeal, and might pay more than the former. Friends and family both pushed me to write the story of John Paul II, but I had a little more conversing with God before I went for it. I decided that if I was about to launch a career of personal work writing a story about a saint I dearly love would prepare me in a real way to live and draw for God, and be at his complete mercy when it came to trying to publish my first book. And whether it gets published remains to be seen, but more than the joy of putting this all together I have received double the gifts than I thought I would by going with my gut and writing the story of a little Polish boy who would one day be a great Pontiff. For one, as I read books about his life I couldn't help but feel completely overwhelmed and constantly inspired, so much so that sometimes I had to stop between pages and pray. Then when I began to write, my entire family wanted to pitch in and help and edit, and even friends of mine took up my amateur phrases and helped me make something I think is lovely, but even lovelier for all the love that went into it.  Family and friends, continue to be present and attentive to my next crazy email when I can't decide between a purple color scheme or a slightly more blue, but still quite purple one.

Sometimes I get anxious, and I have to turn back to prayer and ask Blessed Pope John Paul if he likes it and God my Father to bless it. This time has really been a time of love and even though I will be disappointed if it never gets published, I don't think one moment was ill spent on this project. And thanks be to Heaven, I'm still so far from bored, it's ridiculous. I'm just about to draw out of the cover, the finishing touch to the pitch, and then it will be a whole other game as I knock on publishers doors. This time has made me realize how truly blessed I am in this little apricot room with my fluffy cat and my crucifix hanging above my bed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Brings Newness

(Written whilst on a new year high, please forgive hyperness)

I sit here in a lovely hotel connected by sky bridges to two other hotels thinking about how I want this year to be better, different and new.

 (crazy eyes)

I never took resolutions seriously for more than a week until I read some of Matthew Kelly's books. Maybe it was because he is Australian and a palpable, even charming type-A that I decided to write down my one year, five year and five+ year goals. Or maybe, maybe because I desperately wanted to be the kind of person who could decide to do something and do it. 

Waking up early will again go on the list. I didn't do that AT ALL. 

But I did take a class outside of work for a whole year and that has never happened ever. Hellsbells I said, I will not be a quitter! And so I went and loved it, even when I sucked (okay I didn't love it when I was awkward, and there was that one time I skipped and went running instead, but it was one time!!!). 

When I wrote my list last year it was at a time when I was very vulnerable and I wanted to believe that I could change. That God could mold me. That my happiness could come out of me changing when I had no control over my environment. Or as Anne of Green Gables so sweetly put it, "It's not what the world hold for you. It's what you bring to it."

And she was right, and it isn't a sugar-coated perspective. There is still sorrow and anguish but there can be peace keeping you steady, or in the worst of circumstances keeping you from drowning!

My dad and I watched a documentary the other day called "Happy". The movie tries to analyze and determine the factors that make a person happy or not. A percentage is made up of our own genetic make up. Some people are just more naturally able to feel the "Happy High". Money also comes in to play, but here's the catch, people who have all of their needs met are found to be just as happy as very very rich people. Then there is what you decide to do about being content. Apparently the choices and habits you make can help rewire your brain to have a higher and higher capacity for happiness. Which I found to be relieving, because that made sense to me since I feel myself functioning differently than even two or three years ago. Last but not least, "Happy" focused on community and how human connections bring joy (of course!) but we sometimes put the people we love on the side for the sake of fame and money. I was glad that they did talk about God nearing the end, and they interviewed a couple of people of deep faith, including a man who gave up his career to work with Mother Teresa and he was just so blissful!

I don't know where I was going with this... I guess what I wanted to say is that change is hard, and you might think that you are a person who can't change, but I say you absolutely can and that resolutions can actually be resolved! 

Sometimes when your life "is a graveyard of buried hopes" it is the kick of God telling you to start A-NEW.